The 8 Inch Frying Pan

The 8 Inch Frying Pan

While many negative 'What If' scenarios cloud our minds, it is true that finding that one particular positive 'What If' helps us in good stead.


I always wanted to live a life of significance and positive impact. I have always believed that things could be made better. While many negative 'What If' scenarios cloud our minds, it is true that finding that one particular positive 'What If' helps us in good stead.


So starting now, no more 'What If's' about the past. Howsoever life decides to play its part, one should not think about the past. There are times when we believe that life is not playing out as per our plans, and curse. There are moments where everything unexpectedly falls into place and we have a reason to believe that God has a plan. In Business or Job, Leadership or Management, Homemaker, Retired or bringing up kids, the 'What If' question can help make decision making simpler.


Here is a story that perfectly showcases how negative 'What If's' ruin opportunities in hand. One fine day, two friends went out fishing, and while both had their respective catches, one of them sees the latter catching big fishes but tossing them back into the sea. Out of curiosity, the friend asks as to why his friend was throwing away such big fishes back into the sea. The answer took him aback. His friend replied that he had to discard the big fishes because he only had an 8-inch frying pan and anything bigger will not suffice. How he wished he had a bigger frying pan!


This story perfectly rounds off where we go wrong in life. Just like this person, we also throw away many opportunities in our life without thinking 'What If'. The trick here is to remove the negativities, and carefully scrutinize what we have as options before deciding for or against it.


In my role as a leader, I always ask the positive 'What If' questions. It helps me take the correct decisions in the right direction. At times, I write the consequences of the scenario in hand, and then deliberate over them to arrive at the right conclusion. This helps me strike out all the possible anomalies and believe in the decision that I am about to take.


Ways of arriving at the right decision


Always see if the overarching decision will help you in the end. Do not get influenced by only the tactical consequences or short term impact; but focus on what is the right thing to do and not the easy thing to do. Do not indulge in insignificant worries. Negative thoughts cloud logical thinking and do not lead to positive results. Learn to understand the difference between what you can control and what you cannot and accept the things you cannot control or influence. 


Think about the positive consequences first. You are the master of your own destiny, and hence should take your own decisions. Success breeds success, similarly one positive thought will lead to other positive possibilities so influence your mind firstly with all the possible positive outcomes of your decision and then put down possible negative impacts to weigh them logically against one another.


Plan well. After all, there is no substitute to future outlook, and covering all bases before taking the plunge. Put to paper what you seek to achieve, and list out the steps to achieve it. Keep asking 'What if' at every stage of consequences but at the same time balance it with 'Start Acting and Stop Worrying' policy. Sometime go with your gut and move ahead with the decision.


So, go ahead ask the constructive 'what if' questions and let the opportunities come knocking at your door. Make it the right decision!



Zubin Zack is the Managing Director - South Asia, Middle East, Africa of O.C. Tanner. He carries a cross-functional experience of 22 years. His mission is to shape and execute strategies that can yield ROI and accelerate meeting of business objectives. Apart from his Engineering & Management background, he also wields Executive Certifications from Harvard Business School, The Wharton School and the Financial Planning Standards Board.


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